July 16, 2009
The lighting in a space needs to be well-designed, or the entire effect will be ruined. Even with the best possible design for the space, without proper lighting, it could end up looking terrible. But there are so many options, where do you start?
General (Ambient) Lighting
Ambient lighting is the main source of light in a room. Ambient lighting can come from nature (through windows and doors), from a lighting fixture, or from recessed cans. Yes, you even need to consider natural light when designing the lighting in your space. Do you want natural light entering the room all the time or would you like to be able to close the curtains and block out the heat or glare at certain times of the day?
Then, would you prefer to have cans recessed into the ceiling, or a single fixture dropped down or flush with the ceiling? And if you choose a single fixture, you will need to find one that fits your design needs.
Task lighting is meant for illuminating the area where certain tasks are done. In the kitchen, you may choose to install under-cabinet lighting to light up the area where you prepare food. And perhaps you will place a few reading lamps in the living area or next to the bed. Sconces also work well next to the bathroom mirror for applying makeup in the morning.
Accent lighting is not meant to be functional, but to highlight a certain feature in your home. For example, track lighting can be moved along the ceiling to accent artwork or an architectural feature, such as an archway.
Before choosing the lighting for your home, consider each of your options. Make sure to consider each of the different types of lighting and the fixtures that are available for each. With too much or too little lighting, even the greatest of designs may be ruined.